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Pressure Injury Prevention and Management

About Pressure Injuries

Pressure injuries are a major cause of preventable harm for patients using health care services including hospital, residential care and home care. Injuries usually develop over 'bony' parts of the body due to sustained pressure, or pressure combined with shear and/or friction.

Pressure injuries cause physical symptoms, feelings of anger and blame, and reduce quality of life through pain, infection, delayed healing, altered body image, depression, and increased mortality and morbidity. The human toll on urihaumate (patients), carers and their families-whānau should not be underestimated.

Injuries also carry connotations of neglect and mismanagement on the part of health professionals. Evidence shows most pressure injuries are preventable – early identification of people at risk and subsequent effective management needs to be a high priority for all care providers to reduce harm.

There are key actions that are recognised and promoted to reduce the risk and impact of pressure injuries. For example, the SSKIN care bundle provides a useful approach to ensure that no prevention element is missed. The SSKIN care bundle includes the following:

Surface– provide a supportive and pressure relieving surface
Skin Inspection – undertake regular skin checks for discolouration and pain on bony prominences and under or around medical devices
Keep moving – change position often
Incontinence– keep skin dry and clean
Nutrition – eat healthily and drink plenty of fluids

Pressure injuries impact the New Zealand health system by increasing patients' length of stay, ACC treatment injury claims and care cost. (Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand 2020 (modified)).

Staging Pressure Injuries Tutorial

Watch a fun interactive short tutorial using apples to demonstrate accurate staging of pressure injuries. The video is presented by Dawn French (Tissue Viability Specialist Nurse) and makes staging pressure injuries "as simple as Apple P.I.E.”


Disclaimer: These pathways, for the care and management of patients within Bay of Plenty, have been developed jointly by primary and secondary care clinicians. They provide guidance for General Practice teams to diagnose and manage patients suffering from a number of different conditions, and contain patient information resources. The pathways are maps of publicly-funded services accessed by referral from the community, and are strongly evidence based, but are not full clinical guidelines. As the pathways are suggested guidance only, while using them you must exercise your own clinical judgement and pertinent clinical data when treating your patient. This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.